Conquering Your Jabberwocky – Part II

Recently we followed Alice down the rabbit hole into Wonderland.  This week, we are going to apply some lessons learned from Alice, particularly how to move past our fears.

The Jabberwocky is an appropriate analogy for our fears.  It has “jaws that bite,” which could be construed as words that pierce our psyche and wound our self-confidence.  It has “claws that catch” which could be analogous to being paralyzed with fear.

In other words, the fear not only makes us question ourselves but also stops our forward motion.

So, how can we combat our own Jabberwocky?

Make a list of your accomplishments & check it twice (or more).

Always keep a list of your accomplishments, regardless of how small they may seem to you at the time.  Not only is this a good way to combat the “jaws that bite,” but it will also come in handy when performance reports are due.  Don’t fall into the trap of not tooting your own horn.  Chances are that, if you don’t, very few others will. Absalom would say “I can’t help you if you don’t even know who you are.”  This is true.  Know yourself, and make certain that others know you and are aware of your accomplishments too.

Remember that fears often seem bigger than they are.

Think about the accomplishments of humanity.  Now ask yourself what life would be like right now if all these wonderful inventors, writers, scientists, and others were too fearful to step out of their comfort zone.  When Alice first saw the Jabberwocky, she responded in fear.  “This is impossible!”  The Mad Hatter responded, “Only if you believe it is.”

Too often we see fear as insurmountable.  It looks very much like Alice’s Jabberwocky–big, mean, and really ugly.  It is often so intimidating that retreat feels like the only safe alternative.  This brings us to feelings.

Remember that feelings don’t dictate reality.

Feelings begin in our thoughts and become quite tangible in our gut, but they are not reality.  Sometime we forget that we can and should exercise control over them.  We also overlook the fact that feelings do not dictate right or wrong.  They do not predict success or failure either.

Combat bad feelings by grabbing your list of accomplishments and start to “believe in six impossible things before breakfast.”  Note even the smallest of successes because they often lead to even larger “wins.”  Most importantly, believe in yourself.

Embrace the madness.

When the Mad Hatter was having a particularly bad day, Alice said:  “You’re entirely bonkers.  But, I’ll tell you a secret.  All the best people are.”   Although every fiber of our being tends to want to fit in, the most interesting people are those who are different.  Don’t be afraid to explore different avenues and ideas.  Great works of art, scientific discoveries, and amazing inventions are rarely comparable to anything before.  Color outside the lines! You might just be the next great contributor to humanity.

Your vorpal sword

Alice dispatched the Jabberwocky with the vorpal sword, which the White Queen described as hope.  You can do the same.  Along with your accomplishments, list your hopes.  What is it that you want to eventually accomplish?  Nothing is as big a threat to your dreams as fear.  Hope is the antidote.

Return from Wonderland.

Alice was strengthened on her return from wonderland.  She had discovered who she was and had an appropriate assessment of her abilities.  She pitched her ideas to a family friend and businessman.  We last see her on the deck of a boat heading to pursue trade with China.

Once you have some successes in your very own wonderland, you will have a better idea of your capabilities.  You will learn when to heed fear and when to shove it aside and move forward.  Fear will become a tool rather than your master.

Break free. 

Did you know that the word “fear” has a fitting acronym?  It is FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real.   Isn’t that truly what fear is?  Can you see how it can “bind and catch?”  Now it is time to break free and conquer your Jabberwocky!


As Associate Director of Employer Experience for Wake Forest University, Lisa’s passion is connecting employers with student talent and creating a positive experience for both. She leads a university-wide Employer Experience team which is responsible for all aspects of recruiting, retention, and systems for the graduate business school.  Her strengths include relationship management, networking, social media engagement, information aggregation, process facilitation and communication. Lisa has been employed at Wake Forest since the fall of 2002.  She has over 20 years of work experience in various roles.  Prior to arriving at Wake Forest, she was an entrepreneur, venturing into web-based international sales and marketing of salvage automotive parts and accessories.  Before that, she was a trust officer in the Employee Benefit Trust area of Wachovia Bank.  Lisa is also a veteran of the United States Air Force. Lisa earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Rollins College and a Masters in Liberal Arts from Wake Forest.  Visit Lisa’s blog, follow her on Twitter, or connect via LinkedIn.

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